PhotoBeast

The Photography Blog from Beastmaster.co.uk


Leave a comment

Holiday in Port Cogolin – Part One

20130630-040643 PM.jpg
Holiday in Port Cogolin June/July 2013

We have not long got back off our epic adventure holidaying in Port Cogolin and exploring Italy by following the route of the Millie Miglia, so we feel really spoiled being able to return to Port Cogolin so soon after. As a holiday diary this might be a tad dull after the excitement of the last one as this is definitely more of a beach and relaxation holiday. However, to pep it up a bit we have planned a day trip to Monaco on Wednesday where we hope to do a few slightly different things than the normal tourist with our day there.

Anyway this is our holiday as it unfolds.

Friday 28th June 2013

The routine for our holidays is almost always the same – Peanut has the Friday off work to do all the last minute packing and give a final briefing to her Mum who house and cat sits while we are way, while I go to work and wait for Peanut to collect me at half past four.

Work was busy but understandably still dragged a little for me as my excitement mounted. Finally, it was time to go and I was lucky and got away at quarter past so we were off to a good start! We had booked a Tunnel crossing at 8.20 which meant we had to get to the Tunnel at Dover at 7.50. This gave us 3 and a half hours to get there. On reflection this was perhaps a bit tight for Friday night travelling and getting around London and yes you guessed it we missed our Tunnel crossing! When we get back I am considering starting a Facebook campaign to have London moved to somewhere out of the way such as Lincolnshire! Seriously this is a great idea as 90% of the country cannot avoid London if they want to go to France via Dover. Paris by contrast is very easy to avoid!

The traffic on the M25 was shocking and really held things up. Peanut was driving and it meant she had to do the whole drive as we did not have time even to swap. Her efforts were valiant and courageous and SilverBeast our MINI JCW Coupe did his best too by using dynamic navigation to detect the jams and try to route around them. We arrived at 10 past 8, missed our slot and were informed that the next free one was 20 past midnight!

“Poo”, was not the word that was repeated often at this juncture so we tried to make the best of things and allowed ourselves to indulge in the Tunnel port hospitality system. This has three main features… First there is a Burger King with a 40 minute queue ( didn’t matter as we were here for 4 hours). Secondly, there is a WH Smiths which is open as you walk in but shuts 2 minutes before you escape from Burger King and thirdly there is a lookalike Duty free shop which of course isn’t, which sells perfume and drink at vastly inflated prices hoping you will buy it anyway as you are stuck here for 4 hours. Finally, to give the place a nice homely British feel, they also fill the place with raucous screaming children who have never been taught how to behave and like to play a game called “Can I scream loud enough to shatter the windows in this building before they collapse under the weight of the seagull poo?”

Finally we were rescued when a kind girl from behind the bar came up to us (by now we were almost the only ones left in the place) and said there are spaces on the next train if you are quick! We were quick, we got the train and were driving on French soil at Midnight British time, one pm French time!

Saturday 29th June 2013.

We had lost some time, which was frustrating but on the plus side we rarely have hold ups in France and this proved to be the case. We share the driving, and in the dark hours one of us slept while the other drove. It was raining and the skies were full of cloud. As daylight began to challenge night we saw just how moody these clouds were and still it rained. We had set cruise control to the motorway speed limit, we use an electronic tag to fly through the tolls and despite the rain we were making good time. Sometimes we stop for a little sleep in the car but this time we didn’t feel the need and like Biggles we pressed on. We reached Lyon just before 7 and got through the city with no issues. We were on the home run, so we stopped for some breakfast and then got back on the drive. A speck of blue poked through the grey sky, the rain stopped. A ray of sun broke through the cloud like a sword and began to fence with the cloud. It tore the cloud to shreds and we basked in sunshine and blue skies and reached Port Cogolin and our apartment at twelve.

The apartment was clean and tidy not just from our last visit but because some mates had been the week before so we were settled in and unpacked in about half an hour. One o’ clock saw me poolside and by three I had two swims and the beginnings of a tan under my belt.

Five saw us walk over to Geant the nearby hypermarket to stock up for the week and eight saw us eating salmon from the BBQ with rice and ratatouille.

Yep It’s official I’m on holiday.

20130630-040826 PM.jpg

Advertisements


Leave a comment

The Fuji X-M1 – We likes Muchly

 
 
 

Fujifilm launches the X-M1: a compact and lightweight premium interchangeable-lens camera with the same APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor as the X-Pro1

June 25, 2013
Updated : June 26, 2013

Press Release: FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Shigehiro Nakajima) is proud to announce the launch of the FUJIFILM X-M1, the third premium interchangeable-lens camera from the company. Compact and lightweight, the X-M1 offers enhanced operability whilst bringing the outstanding design, picture quality and performance of the multi-award-winning FUJIFILM X-Pro1 and X-E1 cameras not only to photo enthusiasts but also to a broader scope of users.

Featuring the same internationally-acclaimed proprietary multi-award-winning 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS Sensor as the FUJIFILM X-Pro1 and FUJIFILM X-E1

  • The FUJIFILM X-M1 is equipped with a large APS-C X-Trans CMOS Sensor, which offers picture quality comparable to that of full-frame sensors. The sensor’s unique colour filter array minimises moiré and chromatic aberration without the need for an optical low pass filter, while dramatically boosting resolving power even at identical pixel counts to deliver sharp and texture-rich pictures.
  • The design draws out the potential of high-performance lenses to the maximum. It delivers clear images with stunningly low noise even in low-light conditions at night and indoors where high sensitivity would usually be required. The sensor faithfully reproduces the warm tones of human skin and the vivid colors of the sky from deep blues to the red hues of the setting sun.
  • Users can set the sensor sensitivity from the regular ISO200 to as high as ISO6400 in 1/3 step increments, and can even take advantage of the extended range of ISO100, ISO12800 and ISO25600 to obtain incredibly clear and low-noise images even under clear sky and in low-light or at night.

Fast response thanks to EXR Processor II

The EXR Processor II offers a stress-free photo shoot with a start-up time of 0.5 seconds*, shutter time lag of 0.05 seconds and a maximum burst speed of 5.6 frames per second (max. 30 frames**).

Designed to enable one handed operation with intuitive and quick selection of functions for casual shooting with beautiful results

  • All of the adjustable buttons and dials are positioned on the right-hand side of the camera’s rear LCD panel in pursuit of optimum operability and ease-of-use for casual shooting. When holding the camera with just your right hand the placement of the buttons has been designed to allow you to access all functions and adjust the settings easily.
  • The Mode Dial allows you to select the optimum scene setting with access to the [Advanced SR Auto] mode, which automatically recognises a scene type for fail-safe photography, and the [Advanced Filter] function for artistic photography.
  • The camera is equipped with two Command Dials, allowing users to adjust the aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation quickly with their thumb. Individual buttons are also provided to access frequently-used functions such as White Balance, Burst Mode and Macro, so that you don’t have to go to the menu screen for each change of setting, enabling an intuitive and quick operation.

Sporting a compact and lightweight body, with its cool, retro design inherited from the FUJIFILM X-Pro1 and X-E1

  • The X-M1 has a classical and elegant feel just like the popular FUJIFILM X-Pro1 and X-E1 cameras. Furthermore its compact and lightweight design enable users to casually carry it in a bag without having to worry about the bulk.
  • The X-M1 weighs just 330 grams*** despite incorporating a large APS-C CMOS sensor, a tiltable high-definition LCD monitor, a built-in flash, Wireless image transfer and a hot shoe.
  • The X-M1 will be available in three colors: Black, Silver and Brown.

Featuring a 920,000 dot high definition tiltable 3-inch LCD for creative and multi-angle shots

  • The 3-inch high-definition LCD screen tilts up and down, facilitating ground level shots of flowers and pets as well as high up shots over a crowd of people. It is also suited to tripod-mounted video shooting to broaden your shooting style.

Fujifilm’s Super Intelligent Flash technology which regulates flash intensity according to the scene

  • The X-M1’s high-precision built-in flash, rated at the equivalent of Guide Number 7 *4, uses Fujifilm’s Super i-Flash technology to regulate the amount of light it fires dependent on the scene. In low-light indoor portrait shots or for close-ups of accessories / plates of food, the flash controls its output to reduce highlight blowout. It also provides the perfect fill-in flash when photographing people in backlit conditions or under intense sunlight casting strong shadows on the face.

Wireless image transfer allowing you to instantly transfer high quality images to a mobile device or computer

  • The wireless image transfer function allows users to transfer their shots immediately to their smartphone or tablet PC. It broadens the enjoyment of photography through the easy uploading of your favorite images to social networking sites or just enabling you to share them with your friends.
  • The camera has a built-in wireless image transfer function that uses the dedicated “FUJIFILM Camera App”, available as a free download, to instantly transfer and save your favorite photos to a smartphone or tablet PC. Beautiful images of your choice can be transferred with the Wi-Fi button ready for uploading to SNS or sharing with friends.
  • Users can also view and import pictures and videos to the camera from a smartphone or tablet PC. The function can also retrieve location data from your smartphone to add the information to pictures you take.

Get creative with your photography by employing popular special effects in-camera

  • With eight Advanced Filters, users can add special effects pre-image capture: namely Toy Camera, Miniature, Dynamic Tone, Pop Color, Soft Focus, High Key, Low Key and Partial Color. The camera also offers a Multiple Exposure mode which allows you to superimpose a second exposure onto the first exposure for a truly creative touch.
  • Additionally, Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes feature five different effects that emulate the looks that used to be captured by different photographic films: i.e. PROVIA(standard) for natural colour reproduction, Velvia (vivid) for saturated tones, ASTIA (soft) for soft graduation, Sepia and Monochrome.

Full HD video recording

  • The FUJIFILM X-M1 is capable of full HD (1920×1080) video recording at 30 frames per second. Creative effects can be added when shooting videos with Film Simulation options including Monochrome, and beautiful bokeh achieved with the large sensor at a large aperture.

FUJINON XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS lens (24mm-76mm) *5

  • A compact and lightweight XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS zoom lens (24mm-76mm)*5 is being launched with the X-M1 as a Kit lens and is designed to complement the camera perfectly, covering the focal lengths of 24mm to 76mm*5. It is ideal for various scene types including indoor shooting, landscapes and snapshots.
  • The XC16-50mm lens consists of 12 all-glass elements in 10 groups including 3 aspherical elements and 1 ED element. It features seven round-edged aperture blades, which offers 17 stops in 1/3 EV steps for precise aperture control.
  • The use of lightweight lens elements and a high-precision stepping motor has enabled the camera to deliver high-speed autofocus. Coupled with optical image stabilisation, the lens ensures that you capture all the shutter opportunities.
  • The lens will be available in two variations Black and Silver.

Extensive collection of X-M1 accessories

  • Leather Case: Specifically designed to fit the FUJFILM X-M1, the case offers protection to your equipment whilst also providing the right amount of grip and the premium finish of genuine leather.
  • Hand Grip: Ergonomically designed in pursuit of the perfect hold.
  • Clip-on Flash: Available in three types to suit all your flash photography needs.

FUJIFILM X-M1 Key Features:

  • 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor (same sensor as X-Pro1 / X-E1)
  • Hi-speed EXR Processor II
  • Start-up time of 0.5 secs*, shutter lag of 0.05 secs and a maximum burst speed of 5.6 fps(max. 30 frames**)
  • Compact and lightweight body
  • Tiltable 3-inch LCD (920K dot high definition)
  • Built in flash with FUJIFILM’s Super Intelligent Flash technology
  • ISO200-6400 in 1/3 step increments (and extended range of ISO100, ISO 12800 to 25600 at reduced resolution)
  • Full HD Video recording at 30fps
  • 49 point AF
  • Art filters: 8 Advanced Filters plus 5 Film Simulation modes
  • In-camera RAW processing
  • Q button for list view of frequently-used menus and smooth configuration
  • Hot shoe
  • Wireless image transfer to smart phones and tablet PCs via FUJIFILM Camera app
  • Cool retro design, available in three colors: Black, Silver and Brown
  • * Quick Start mode.
  • ** Max. number of frames can be shot in JPEG setting, use a card with SD Speed Class with “Class10” or higher
  • *** Including the battery and memory card, excluding the lens.
  • *4 ISO200•m.
  • *5 35mm format equivalent.


Leave a comment

Fuji X-E1 and X-Pro1 Firmware updates

Fujifilm announces X-Pro1 and X-E1 firmware updates to offer faster AF and the addition of a “Focus Peak Highlight” function

June 25, 2013

Press Release: FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Shigehiro Nakajima) today announces the release of two new firmware updates for the FUJIFILM X-Pro1 and X-E1 compact system cameras, one on 25thJune and a further one on 23rd July. The upgrades will provide improved AF performance for all FUJINON XF lenses and, amongst other benefits, will add a ‘Focus Peak Highlight’ function for manual focusing.

New Firmware release dates:

— 25th June 2013
— 23rd July 2013

 

  1. 1. The contents of the firmware update on 25th June:
    FUJIFILM X-Pro1 Ver.2.05, FUJIFILM X-E1 Ver.1.06

    1. 1) Additional functionality to allow “one-handed” camera operation
      a) A ‘Focus Frame Selection’ option has been added to the ‘Fn’ (function) button.
      This offers easier/quicker operation when setting the Focus Frame Selection using only your right hand.
      b) A second ‘Fn’ style functionality can be allocated to the selector “down” button
      This enables you to allocate a function to the selector “down” button. The default setting is ‘Focus Frame Selection’ but this can be changed to whatever suits your shooting style.
    2. 2) Enable aperture control for the lens without an aperture ring
      (XF27mmF2.8 / XC16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS)

      If you are using either of the above lenses which do not feature aperture ring, this firmware update allows you to adjust the aperture setting by using the command dial.

 

  1. 2. The contents of firmware update on 23rd July:
    FUJIFILM X-Pro1 Ver.3.00, FUJIFILM X-E1 Ver.2.00

    1. 1) Improvement of AF speed
      Improves AF speed on all existing XF lenses, thanks to the updated algorithm throughout the full range of focal length.
      Lenses covered:
      XF14mmF2.8 R / XF18mmF2 R / XF35mmF1.4 R / XF60mmF2.4 R Macro / XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
      <NOTE>
      The AF Speed on the XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens has been already optimized.

      For all lenses other than the XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, the firmware for each lens must be also updated.

    2. 2) ‘Focus Peak Highlight’ function for manual focusing
      The ‘Focus Peak Highlight’ function, which features on the X100S and X20 cameras and was well accepted, has been added via this firmware update. It assists accurate and sensitive manual focusing by enhancing the outline of your subject in high contrast.
    3. 3) Improvement in ‘Checking Focus’ operation: how to change magnification ratio in manual focusing
      The process to check focus by selecting a 3x or 10x manual focus magnification has improved. Just press and rotate the dial right or left and the camera will alternate magnification by 3x and then 10x , whichever way you turn it.

To download the new firmware files & instructions on upgrading your cameras, please visit: http://www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/software/

 


Leave a comment

Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 Pancake Lens Announced

Fuji Press Release: Fujifilm expands the lineup of X Mount interchangeable lenses

FUJINON XF27mmF2.8

A highly portable high-performance single focal length lens for casual shooting with quality results!

June 25, 2013

FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Shigehiro Nakajima) is proud to announce the launch of the new “FUJINON XF27mmF2.8” lens for the Fujifilm compact system cameras.

FUJINON XF lenses are the pinnacle of Fujifilm’s optical design technology, with top quality all-glass construction including aspherical lens elements. Their fast f-stop broadens users’ scope of photographic expression for low-light photography and scenes with a beautiful bokeh effect. In addition, FUJINON’s “HT-EBC Coating” reduces reflection at a wider range of wavelengths, thereby controlling ghosting. The lenses feature advanced lens engineering, capable of drawing the maximum performance out of the highly-descriptive “X-Trans CMOS Sensor” in the FUJIFILM X-Pro1, X-E1 and X-M1 cameras.

The FUJINON XF27mmF2.8 is a compact and lightweight lens for excellent portability. It is a well-balanced, high-performance, single focal length lens, delivering great picture quality in a wide range of scenes including landscapes, snapshots and portraits. The lens is available in black and silver.

• High-performance lens that offers a field of view similar to that of the human eye, covering a wide range of scene types

The lens has a fixed focal length of 27mm (41mm in 35mm format equivalent), offering a field of view similar to that of the human eye, capturing each scene as precisely and naturally as you see it. It includes a glass molded aspheric element which reduces image distortion as much as possible. You can explore different ideas depending on the scene you’re shooting, e.g. using your own footwork to adjust the distance between yourself and your subject, or by changing the shooting angle, enabling you to enjoy a broad range of photography.

• Lightweight and compact

Weighing 78g and measuring 23mm in length, this is one of the smallest and lightest single focal length lenses available for APS-sensor compact system cameras. Its thin form factor keeps the camera compact when mounted, encouraging you to take your camera wherever you go.

• Outstanding resolving power for sharp and clear images

The advanced optical design is coupled with FUJINON’s proprietary HT-EBC Coating that brings a large amount of light onto the camera sensor to draw the maximum performance out of the X-Trans sensor, thus achieving outstanding resolving power for sharp and clear images.

• High-speed autofocus

The lens incorporates an autofocus design that uses a high-torque DC coreless motor to shift all of the front lens elements (5 elements in 4 groups) to achieve a fast AF speed. The quick AF response is one of the fastest amongst single focal length lenses on APS-sensor mirrorless cameras.

• Premium-quality focus ring

The high precision focus ring is made of metal, and requires delicate operation during manual focusing. The materials and the design ensure a comfortable feel and exactly the right amount of torque when rotating the ring.

• Bokeh effect for isolating a subject

The use of a seven-blade round diaphragm means your subject is isolated with beautiful bokeh in portraiture with a shallow depth of field, or for close-up photography of stunning dishes or small accessories.

[For FUJIFILM X-Pro1 and X-E1 customers]

The FUJINON XF27mmF2.8 lens does not feature an aperture ring in order to make it compact and lightweight. When using this lens, please update your camera body’s firmware to enable aperture adjustment via the camera’s command dial.

Fujifilm Global website: http://www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/

This is on the Christmas list here at Beastie Folly.


1 Comment

Blog A Pic – Car Photos from The Ferrari and Mille Miglia Museums

Car photos taken on the Fuji X-E1 and given a vintage treatment. the photographs are from the Mille Miglia Museum in Brescia and the Ferrari Museum in Maranello.


1 Comment

Blog a Pic – The March of The Giraffes in Siena

There is a race called the Palio run in the Piazza del Campo twice a year in the summer. People are absolutely packed into the centre and around the edges and the horses run around an outer ring in a dirt track which is made for the event. The Piazza is a natural bowl that lends itself perfectly to arena events and anything from opera to Status Quo would be perfect here.

There are 17 areas of Siena, called contrades, and each have a name and they are very clannish and competitive. They are each allowed one horse and a jockey of their choosing in the race, who rides bare backed. In the days and weeks before the race each clan marches about, singing and flag waving to drum up support for their team. And on the day we were in Siena it was the turn of the giraffes, to drum up their support. We grabbed this footage on the Fuji X-E1 to try and pass on  not just the sight of the procession but the sound. They are really quite loud with their drums, especially in the narrow streets of Siena.